Photomerge: so easy it’s cheating

I stumbled across the “Photomerge” feature in Photoshop a while back when I was trying to take a photo of my tiny little living room. I don’t have a lens wide angle enough to take it all in at once, so I stuck my camera on a tripod, and snapped off 10 or so photos, rotating the camera a little between each one.

I’d intended on making a panoramic photo manually with layers and the transform tools, but following the No. 1 rule of the Web, I Googled it first, and low and behold, there is a MUCH better way.

Photomerge can do hours of manual Photoshopping in about as much time as it takes you to go to the fridge to get a beer. It’s like magic. Here’s my first living room picture: (Click to enlarge)

Check out how the edges of the walls and the carpet bow in the middle. Photoshop warped and transformed them to make them fit together perfectly. I NEVER could have made it look this nice.

I immediately started thinking about how I could use this at work, and the opportunity came up with a story about a dangerous intersection an hour north of town. Since most people that read the paper would never see it, I thought it might be neat to show folks what it’s like to be getting ready to pull out from that stop sign.

If you click and view it full size, you have to scroll back and forth to take it all in — just like how in real life you have to turn your head. Even though it’s simple, I thought it was kind of an immersive experience, and I think there’s some potential there. The News Journal actually used this photo in the print edition as a banner over the story. I was stoked.

This morning I dug through my old photos and found some shots that looked like they might stitch. The first is of my brother Cody at Meteor Crater in Arizona. The eight photos stitched were shot hand held with a point and shoot. (Click to enlarge)

It’s not just horizontal panoramas that are possible. So you can get an idea how Photoshop merges and warps individual photos together, here’s what it did with some random shots I took from a window overlooking a dam in Arizona: (Click to enlarge)

Some variation of the jagged edges occurs in just about all of the merged photo sets, and I usually just crop them out.

I’m not going to post a step-by-step tutorial on how to do these, but if you can’t figure it out, a quick Google search for “Photomerge” is all it takes. Technology is so freaking cool sometimes!

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